Berkeley CSUA MOTD:Entry 37815
Berkeley CSUA MOTD
2018/03/24 [General] UID:1000 Activity:popular

2005/5/23-25 [Science/GlobalWarming] UID:37815 Activity:moderate
5/23    How Pentagon wastes 5 billion dollars:
        \_ Oh my! The horror!
        \_ Yeah, I hate science too.  Discovering new things about fusion.
           Pssh.  How could THAT be useful?
        \_ Yeah, I know.  I mean, honestly, that money could be put to so many
           better uses -- like a solid gold monument of the 10 commandments,
           or giant marble statues of jesus, or maybe funding for a new
           religious science university and another 'intelligent design'
           museum somewhere.  All those damned scientists spending money on
           their newfangled 'technology' and 'research'.  They don't go to
           church on sundays, they don't get federal funding.
           church on sundays, they shouldn't get federal funding.
           \_ Hey, who deleted the gold plated marble Jesus?  We could build
              that 900 foot tall Jesus that Oral Roberts is always seeing.
        \_ So.  Are you religious right, or chicom troll?
        \_ I'd much rather the Pentagon spend the money building lasers for
           fusion than invading Iraq.
           \_ fusion tech would not serve republican business interests
2018/03/24 [General] UID:1000 Activity:popular

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jpg Scientists will attempt to aim 192 laser beams in this target chamber roo m and hit a pea-sized hydrogen fuel capsule causing an explosion and sel f-sustaining release of energy. Video of the National Ignition Facility external link FACT BOX STICKER SHOCK Over the years the cost of the super laser project has soared and its sch eduled completion drifted. The General Accounting Office (GAO) in a 2001 rep ort estimated the total costs would exceed $4 billion when all associate d costs were included. Some estimates predicted total costs could total $5 billion or more. Sources: Energy Department, GAO (now the Government Accountability Office ), Livermore National Laboratory YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS Follow the news that matters to you. LIVERMORE, California (AP) -- Ed Moses talks of the "grand challenge" tha t has consumed him for the past five years, comparing it to trying to hi t the strike zone with a baseball from 350 miles (563 kilometers) away o r tossing a dime into a parking meter from 40 miles (64 kilometers) away . "That's the precision we have to have," says Moses, the director of a hig h-energy physics adventure to produce the world's most powerful laser -- one that scientists hope will create in a laboratory the type of energy found at the center of the sun. In a building the size of a football stadium, engineers have assembled th e framework for a network of 192 laser beams, each traveling 1,000 feet (305 meters) to converge simultaneously on a target the size of a pencil eraser. The trip will take one-thousandth of a second during which the light's en ergy is amplified many billions of times to create a brief laser pulse 1 ,000 times the electric generating power of the United States. The goal is to create unimaginable heat -- 180 million degrees Fahrenheit (82 million Celsius) -- and intense pressure from all directions on a B B-size hydrogen fuel pellet, compressing it to one-thirtieth of its size . The result, the scientists hope, will be a fusing of atoms so that more e nergy is released than is generated by the laser beams, something scient ists call fusion ignition. When completed in 2008, the National Ignition Facility, or NIF, as the laser at the Lawrence Livermore Nation al Laboratories is called, will dwarf many times over any laser to date. It will provide a platform for many experiments in high-energy and high-d ensity physics, from learning more about the planets and stars to advanc ing the elusive hunt for fusion energy to generate electric power, Moses says. "You have to think of this like the Hubble," he says, referring to the sp ace telescope. "It's a place where you will see things and do things tha t you couldn't do anywhere else." If NIF achieves fusion ignition, it will for the first time in a laborato ry simulate the pressures and heat of a nuclear explosion, allowing nucl ear weapons scientists to study the performance and readiness of the cou ntry's aging nuclear arsenal without actually detonating a nuclear devic e Underground nuclear testing in the Nevada desert ended in 1992. The NIF laser "is essential to assessing the potential performance of nuc lear weapons," says Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman. He says the experime nts will help determine the effects of aging on warheads and help assure they will work as expected, should they be needed. There have been other lasers, including a 10-beam Livermore project calle d Nova. "It's the dif ference between a car and a jet engine," Moses says. For many supporters the "pass-fail" is whether the NIF lasers will achiev e fusion ignition. "We never intended to spend $5 billion to $6 billion to build a laser fac ility for ... Pete Domenici, R-New Mexico, chai rman of the Senate subcommittee that funds the NIF program, lectured an Energy Department scientist last year when he learned fusion ignition ex periments might be postponed. Energy Department officials now say the project remains on schedule with the first fusion ignition tests planned for 2010. "It's a terrible expense and a drain" on other programs to maintain the n uclear arsenal, Domenici said in an interview. "They're going to have to prove they can get the job done." Among some people, fusion ignition "has become the poster child for NIF b eing successful" and that shouldn't be the case, counters George Miller, a former nuclear weapons designer and bomb tester who heads the project . He says there are many other experiments for which NIF will be valuabl e to nuclear weapons scientists. "We are conscious of the importance of ignition" and "there's no reason t o think we're not going to get it," Linton Brooks, head of the federal N ational Nuclear Security Administration that oversees the country's nucl ear weapons arsenal, said in an interview. But at a recent Senate hearing, Brooks said a 14 percent budget cutback i n the fusion ignition program creates "additional risks" that fusion ign ition may not be achieved in the 2010 timeframe. Turbulent history The NIF program has had a decade of turbulent history marked by exhilarat ing successes and embarrassing setbacks, large cost overruns and charges by some critics that the project was oversold from the beginning to win initial support in Congress. When the idea of a new, super laser first emerged in the early 1990s, the cost was put at less than $700 million. Critics contend the price is now up to $5 billion when associated expenses such as developing a target capsule capable of achie ving fusion ignition are included. "If Congress knew it would cost $5 billion up front, would they ever have funded it? No way," maintains Christopher Paine, who has monitored NIF' s development for the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environment advocacy group, and has been one of its sharpest critics. Despite its price escalation and remaining uncertainties, NIF maintains s trong support in both Congress and the Bush administration. However, the re have been other high-energy physics projects on which billions of dol lars have been spent only to be dumped. Congress pulled the plug in 1993 on the Superconducting Super Collider pr oject, a racetrack-like device in Texas to study elementary particles an d forces, after spending $2 billion. jpg Project manager Edward Moses, left, and Associate Director George Miller stand in front of the target chamber room of the National Ignition Facil ity. Paine, who in a critique once dubbed NIF "The Unlovable Laser," maintains that NIF should follow the same path. He says it isn't needed and poses a nuclear proliferation risk because it might make it easier in decades ahead to develop new nuclear weapons, not just maintain existing ones. The JASONs, a group of scientists frequently called upon to review comple x defense or national security issues, has concluded that NIF "does not represent a significant proliferation risk" and is "fully compatible" wi th US nonproliferation goals. Still, a recent report by the Defense Science Board, which advises the Pe ntagon, urged more openness about NIF activities and a mix of civilian a nd defense NIF experiments to ease any public concerns about the laser's purpose. The program's critics charge that Livermore officials lowballed NIF's cap abilities and potential cost from the beginning. When Congress was sold on NIF's importance because of its ability to simulate a nuclear explosi on, scientists were at best only half certain fusion ignition could be a ccomplished, NIF program supporters acknowledge today. Three years after NIF construction began, congressional auditors conclude d in a 2000 report, "Congress cannot know with assurance just how much N IF will cost ... what impact NIF will have on the overall nuclear weapon s program, or how long it will take to complete." That report and others were prompted by discovery in late 1999 that engin eers had encountered a serious problem installing the laser's optics and had hidden it from senior Energy Department officials and Congress. To fix the problem would add $350 million to the project's cost. Even as engineers scrambl ed to try to find a solution, Livermore officials were telling then-Ener gy Secretary Bill Richardson that the progra...